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Physical Disabilities

Physical disabilities cover a huge range of issues, from students who have problems with sitting for long periods, manual dexterity that makes writing difficult, lifting and carrying and often mobility difficulties. Many people with physical disabilities may be easily fatigued or susceptible to changes in temperature. Some students will experience considerable pain, which may be controlled through medication, which in itself can have unpleasant side effects and impact on their ability to study.

How a disability can affect a person at university is wide and varied, from virtually no impact at all, to the need for the provision of note takers and support workers. As such each student is considered on an individual basis and in a confidential manner.

In nearly all cases, the basic ability to learn is unaffected by the physical disability. However, people who have sustained a brain injury of some description may have resultant specific learning difficulties, including perceptual, cognitive or memory problems of various kinds.


Physical access


  • We are continuing to improve the general accessibility of our estate, but some of our buildings are not fully accessible as yet.
  • Students with mobility difficulties will need to consider transport arrangements, e.g. travelling between halls and lectures, and even travelling between lectures. Suitable parking is limited;
  • Accessible accommodation is available but limited and once again it is recommended that students take the opportunity to visit campus to determine if the accommodation is suitable for their needs.


Examples of Adaptations to Teaching and Learning Situations


  • Some students may need time to rest because of the extra physical effort required to carry out ordinary tasks. An allowance should be made for this, particularly in examinations or timed assignments;
  • Handouts or tapes of lectures may help those who have difficulty taking notes or who have missed sessions;
  • The recording of lectures may be necessary, for some students.
  • Some students may need to get up and walk around to ease discomfort in lectures.
  • The use of an assistant for note taking or carrying out practical tasks and experiments may be necessary. However, it is important that the assistant should only be the 'arms and legs' of the person, not the 'brain' as well;
  • Create inclusive accessible spaces in lectures, for students who use a wheelchair.